Summit brings together U.S., China health leaders

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Public health practitioners, policymakers, and industry representatives from China and the U.S. gathered September 28–29, 2015, to share experiences and ideas around health system reform. The 5th U.S.–China Summit, hosted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, included for the first time a forum and innovation competition for young public health leaders. This year’s summit speakers touched on topics such as linking health information systems across institutions and increasing the number of primary care doctors in both countries.

The summit grew out of the School’s China Initiative, and has been held alternately at Harvard Chan School and in China since 2011.

The year’s event highlighted China as one of the success stories of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, which expire this year. The country reached 95% health insurance coverage, and has reduced under-five mortality by at least two-thirds and maternal mortality by three-quarters.

Acting Dean David Hunter and other speakers observed that attendees from China and the U.S. were coming together just days after the U.N. adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to foster international cooperation and knowledge sharing to address pressing challenges including achieving universal coverage and improving health.

Sun Zhigang, vice minister of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission and director of the State Council Office of Health Reform, pledged that by 2020 every Chinese family would be registered with a general practitioner.